Help us put musical instruments into the hands of children who need them!
We work with local groups to organize Community Instrument Drives to collect instruments that can be redistributed to music students. As Todd Rundgren says, “The Spirit of Harmony Foundation exists to make sure new hands are learning to play music, new ears are learning to appreciate it, and new hearts are learning to love it.”
A Community Instrument Drive is a fun and very effective way to support Music Education Advocacy!
Here is a handy template for a flyer/poster that you can customize with information about a collection in your city. InstrumentDriveFlyer2017
For a more detailed, generic flyer: InstrumentDriveDetailFlyerPDF
For a Facebook photo album of the 2017 Instrument Collection, please click here.
Instruments are the most common need expressed by music programs. Also, the Foundation gets frequent calls from people who want to donate instruments, so we know that attics and basements and closets are filled with musical treasures. In the spirit of our Foundation’s objective of matching needs with resources, an active instrument collection program directly supports our Mission.
The Foundation will initiate several Community Instrument Drives each year in strategic locations throughout the country, but we also welcome additional collections that are initiated by supporters. If you are interested in organizing or participating in a Community Instrument Drive, please contact the Foundation.
To make sure that music students get functional, working used instruments through our support network, SOHF has partnered with Hungry for Music, a nonprofit organization that collects, evaluates, reconditions, and redistributes musical instruments to programs around the United States.
Condition of Donated Instruments:
Most donated instruments have been stored for significant periods of time and must be reconditioned in some way before they are suitable to give a music student. At the very least, they need to be restrung, cleaned, or calibrated. Therefore, it is not just a simple matter of accepting them and giving them away immediately. Presenting a music program with unusable instruments is helpful to neither the program nor to the children learning music.
For a Community Instrument Drive, we accept musical instrument donations in any condition, but we DO NOT accept upright pianos or organs. We prefer instruments in playable condition but all donated instruments are welcome. In order to get an official tax deduction, donors MUST affix their name and contact information to the instrument.
If you are interested in a collection without Spirit of Harmony assistance or Hungry for Music’s participation, we strongly advise reaching out to local music shops that will be able to evaluate and recondition/repair the collected instruments. Also, we encourage you to request not only instrument donations, but also monetary donations to cover the cost of repair and transportation of instruments.
Steps and considerations for a successful Community Instrument Drive:
- Mobilize a team of friends, family, coworkers, or others together to take on this effort to plan the who, what, where, and when!
- Select a collection/storage location that will be available for several months (this is NEVER a one-day venture since people will want to make their donations before, during, and after your specified collection time).
- Make a plan for local public relations and outreach. Spread the word about the instrument collection: before, during, and after the drive over the course of several weeks.
- Joint efforts: Some of the most successful Community Instrument Drives are held in conjunction with other events, such as festivals or concerts. Pre-existing charitable collections are also great collaborations, for example, communities that collect back-to-school supplies, winter clothing, or holiday foods can be asked to add a musical instrument drive component to their campaign.
- Partnerships: Most high school and college students are encouraged and/or required to engage in community service projects. Students make outstanding partners for a Community Instrument Drive.
- When your collection is complete, we will work with Hungry for Music to arrange for a pick up.
Ideas for accessing unused instruments:
Schools and churches often have instruments that are broken and need to be fixed, just taking up space in a store room. They might be happy to give them a new home.
Local music stores have instruments that have lived a full life in their rental programs. They might no longer be pretty enough to rent, but they can easily be donated to be refurbished.
Set up a large collection bin or container at a summer “concert in the park” series.
Do you have a civic orchestra or symphony? Would they be willing to be a collection/drop off site? Do they have used instruments they no longer use?
Public transit agencies and train stations, shopping malls, public buildings, taxi companies, and airports have lost-and-found rooms filled with everything from mittens to bicycles, and a truly astonishing number of musical instruments. They are often more than happy to give away items that have exceeded their “claim period” (contact the administration office and ask about their policy).
We would LOVE to hear your other ideas!